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The specificity of the interaction between the olfactory and emotional systems in the human brain remains unclear due to contradictory research findings. Prior studies have found both positive and negative associations between levels of anxiety and odor detection sensitivity, identification ability, and hedonic ratings. To address this lack of conclusive findings, the present study utilized a within- and between-subjects experimental design to investigate the effects of anxiety induction on olfactory threshold, identification accuracy, and hedonic ratings among 40 undergraduate University of Dayton students. The experimental procedure tested several hypotheses regarding changes in measures from baseline to post-induction: Participants in the anxiety induction group will exhibit a significant decrease in post-induction odor threshold scores, compared to baseline scores, while odor threshold scores will remain stable in the control group,. Participants in the anxiety induction group will exhibit a significant increase in their post-induction odor identification accuracy scores, compared to baseline scores, while odor identification accuracy will remain stable in the control group. Participants in the anxiety induction group will rate post-induction neutral odors as significantly more unpleasant compared to control ratings. Understanding the specific effects of anxiety on olfactory perception is critical in expanding the understanding of reactive emotional processes and may help future researchers who wish to study anxiety and emotional dysfunction in relation to perceptual processes.

Publication Date

4-18-2018

Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Julie Walsh Messinger

Primary Advisor's Department

Psychology

Keywords

Stander Symposium poster

Comments

Presenter: Lauren Taylor Olson

The Effects of State Anxiety on Olfactory Function in Healthy Young Adults

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